Taking Tea in Pennsylvania

By Karen Callaway • Photography by John O’Hagan

Ever since the first public document denouncing the British Parliament’s Tea Act was published in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1773, citizens of this original colony have declared their independent streak, along with their love of tea. Now, 200-plus years later, tearooms are thriving throughout the state. Many wonderful options dot the map within a two-hour loop of Philadelphia, all located in charming historic towns and all offering warm hospitality, great food, and endless cups of tea. To take this tour, begin at Upper Darby, 10 miles west of Philadelphia, make a clockwise loop 100 miles west to Carlisle, and sip your way back, winding up at Wayne in Philly’s Main Line area. Not only will you meet delightful people and drink delicious tea, you’ll be treated to countless history lessons along the way.


220 South State Road 
• Upper Darby, PA 19082
610-352-2334 • thepaintedteacup.com

The Painted Tea Cup is located in a beautiful circa-1900 Victorian house in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. It was used as a country home before becoming a main residence in the 1950s. Having tea in the Painted Tea Cup’s garden is a pleasant prospect. The tearoom seats 30 guests in the main-floor dining room and an additional six to eight in each of the several rooms upstairs. “I don’t want it to get any bigger,” says owner Mary Hawkins with a smile, “because I enjoy preparing all of the food myself.” The menu at the Painted Tea Cup, which changes daily, is chock-full of customer favorites, such as butternut squash soup, oatmeal bread with a brown sugar glaze, and a positively scrumptious butterscotch-toffee scone. Guests at the Painted Teacup can enjoy a wide selection of teas from such companies as Tea Forté and Harney & Sons. The teas are also available for purchase in the gift shop. “We make everyone feel like they are having tea in a relative’s home,” says Mary about the Painted Tea Cup’s staff.


  1. If you’re looking for more amazing tea room experiences, please take a look at Tilly Mint’s Tea Room located in Souderton, PA. Everything from the ambiance, food, teas, staff, and service are exceptional! The scones are the best I’ve ever eaten, especially when paired with their homemade Devonshire cream and lemon curd. It is truly an experience you must have! I recommend it highly!

  2. Check out Tilly Mints Tea Room in Souderton, PA. I love to go there! The owner is a lot of fun and she has a British theme.

  3. Tilly Mints in Souderton PA is the best. Authentic English tearoom including a red phone booth and many other English touches. The food is excellent!

  4. Enjoy a nice relaxing time at Tilly Mint’s Tea Room in Souderton Pa, with many choices of teas, delicious food, great conversations with friends and staff! Learn England history from the owner Trish. Finish off in the Tea Room Gift Shop!


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